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P. Fischweicher, J. McAtavey

Barry University (UNITED STATES)
The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the effects of introversion and extroversion on self-efficacy and resistance to change in PhD students. The final requirement of a PhD program is the completion of a dissertation, yet only 75% of PhD students have their degrees conferred.

Internationally, the successful completion of a PhD program has been a growing concern (Bourke et al., 2008). This is especially true when assessing the economic and human capital costs inherent in this failed process (Golde, 2005). Improving this outcome requires successfully traversing the dissertation process. This final milestone leading to conferring of a doctoral degree is an undertaking many students find challenging (Burkard et al., 2014). A study by DiPierro (2007) concurred, stating that doctoral program attrition occurred most often during the dissertation process. The ability to change from being a dependent scholar, in a structured learning environment to an independent scholar while working on one’s dissertation appears to impact the process (Blum, 2010). Resistance to that essential change may impede students’ progress. Another factor may be students’ self-efficacy which helps determine what one does with one’s acquired skills and knowledge (Pajares, 1995); the perception of one’s capability to perform a new and difficult task, while dealing with adversity (Schwarzer, 1992), issues often faced when writing a dissertation. Thus, self-efficacy may impact dissertation completion. The final variables addressed in this study were introversion and extroversion. Fryd (1924) described them as follows: introverts are individuals who withdraw from reality, placing greater emphasis on thought processes; extroverts deal with reality by converting their thought processes into explicit action. Since both deep thought processes and explicit action are necessary for dissertation completion, these variables were included in this study. Investigating the effects of introversion and extroversion on self-efficacy, and resistance to change may aid in identifying students more likely to complete their doctoral studies.

This quantitative study investigated introversion and extroversion, self-efficacy, and resistance to change in a group of PhD students enrolled in a private university in the U.S. The research question driving this study was: Is there a difference in the levels of self-efficacy and resistance to change between introverted and extroverted PhD students?

The 69 participants responded to online surveys in this initial pilot study. These included a demographic survey, the General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE), the Resistance to Change Scale (RTC) and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which was used to determine the variables of introversion and extroversion.

Independent Samples t Tests were conducted to determine the effects of the independent variable’s 2 levels, introversion and extroversion, on the means of the dependent variables, the SE and RTC. In addition, the means of the 4 subcategories of the RTC were also calculated. The results for the GSE revealed no significant difference between the 2 levels, introverts and extroverts. As for the RTC, no significant difference was found between the 2 levels Looking at each of the RTC's 4 subcategories, routine seeking, emotional reaction, short-term focus, and cognitive rigidity, again there was no significant differences.